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Rabbit Care

Housing

Rabbits require a comfortable cage or other escape-proof enclosure free from hazards such as electrical wires, poisonous plants and predatory pets such as cats and dogs. Wire bottom cages are not comfortable for rabbit’s feet, so please get a cage with a solid bottom. The rabbit should have room to move about and is most happy if there are multiple levels and a house to hide in and sit on. One or preferably two litter boxes should be provided.

Bedding and Litter

Bedding material can be hay, straw, hardwood shavings (maple, oak, apple) or bits of cloth (if the rabbit is well litter trained). Rabbits like to arrange their beds and comfortable material should be provided. The bedding should be changed at regular intervals to keep the cage smelling fresh and the rabbit feeling comfortable. The bedding should be completely changed and the cage cleaned once every month or two

Some material other than the bedding material should be provided in a litter box. The litter should be changed and the litter box cleaned with warm soapy water at least once a week or more frequently if required.

Feeding

Rabbits must have hay available at all times and should not be fed a diet that is mostly made up of commercial rabbit pellets. Grass hay consisting predominantly of timothy is best. Commercial rabbit pellets made from timothy hay should be fed in small amounts (a handful) every day since these provide essential nutrients. These are great to use as training treats.

Rabbits require green vegetables every day and also enjoy receiving carrots, fruit and other vegetables. Add a new food in small amounts, gradually increasing over time.

Exercise

Rabbits need exercise and they love to run and jump, go through tunnels and in and out of boxes. A cardboard box with a few holes cut in it placed in the middle of a room will entertain a rabbit and provide lots of exercise for the rabbit and entertainment for you. Rabbits should have some free time out of their cage every day in a supervised and rabbit-proofed area. The bathroom can be a good place to let your rabbit loose – be sure to close the toilet lid! Give your rabbit a litter box and a place to hide during these free periods.

Veterinary and Health Care

Try to find a veterinarian with experience in looking after rabbits. Not all general practice vets are trained in rabbit care.

Rabbits require regular grooming with a soft brush or a damp cloth, especially when they are shedding excessively. Rabbits do a lot of grooming of themselves and each other and ingestion of too much fur can cause intestinal blockage. Nails should be clipped monthly since long nails can cause painful deformities of the foot.

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